I write as one who has had the privilege of spending a life time in the performance arts - dance in particular - with special concern for the Arts and Christian Faith, for spiritual and religious communication generally… author of six books on the Performing Arts and Christian Faith including Dance and the Christian Faith which was reprinted by Lutterworth last year …. founder andoriginal director of SPRINGS DANCE COMPANY … a Christian Dance Company still very much ‘on the road’ some thirty three years on …. previously a senior lecturer at Middlesex, Leeds and London Universities, Edith Cowen University and Academy of Performing Arts - Western Australia, an Affiliate of CARTS Centre of Advanced Religious and theological studies - Cambridge University, several times a ‘visiting scholar’ at the same University [including Ridley Hall and Wesley Theological Colleges] … one who, in formal acknowledgement of a life-time commitment to the performing arts and the spiritual - [not the least based upon a personal bequest his setting up of an International Visiting Dance Scholarship] - was in 2008 elected a Bye-Fellow at Robinson College - Cambridge and one who recently completed a major piece of government sponsored research concerning EFFICACY and the ARTS with special reference to dance theatre, the ethical, aesthetic and spiritual .
Today we think of the performing arts in terms primarily of entertainment and recreation, with little significance other than providing ephemeral and escapist pleasure, a gloss upon the surface of life, a harmless indulgence; one driven in the main by economics and politics rather than the internal and ethical energies of the forms themselves. I see the arts as indispensable vehicles for the development of human consciousness; a primary quest for meaning and understanding, apprehending and exploring reality’; at their most profound and typical, formally heuristic rather than merely hedonistic and ‘far from escaping life have a way of drawing us into life, allowing us to participate more immediately and deeply in the basic stuff and process of life’ (Westerhorff 1981a, pp.5-15) not the least the spiritual life; re-minding artists and arts audiences, arts legislators and educators that ‘beyond the functional and material there exists, as has always existed, a close alliance between aesthetic knowing and spiritual knowing; ‘an alliance not dictated merely by historical accident or practical need but one rooted in the very essence of both’ (Pope John Paul II 1999).